1. I was told by an ultrasound technician that I have an anterior placenta. What exactly is this? Is it why the baby’s heartbeat is sometimes hard to find, and why I don’t feel as much movement as other women who are 19 weeks along? Also, does my being overweight make it harder to feel the baby kicking?

    • A placenta can implant in any number of places, including at the top of the uterus (the fundus), at the back of the uterus (posterior), or, in the case of placenta previa, in the lower portion of your uterus, covering your cervix. Having an anterior placenta means that it has implanted along the front portion of your uterus, directly under your belly button. An anterior placenta is perfectly normal, and yes, it is the reason you do not feel the baby’s movements as much as other women do. Instead of kicking directly against your abdominal muscles, the baby is kicking and pushing against the placenta. This softens the impact for you, as if you were cushioned by a pillow inside. This is also why it is sometimes hard to locate your baby’s heart-beat. My Alexander had an anterior placenta, and I was a bit disappointed that I did not feel him moving around much. If you have a layer of fat on your abdomen, this further cushions the baby’s movements.

  2. Ed

    Two months ago, we found out my wife was pregnant, and we’re both very excited. I tell myself that everything is fine, but I find myself constantly worried, and I notice that I am having stomachaches and tension headaches. Does this happen to prospective fathers a lot?

    • You are not alone! A man’s discovery that he is going to be a father brings up many emotions. In addition to being happy, you have new concerns. You may be worried about the health and safety of your wife and baby, the responsibilities of parenthood, household finances, changes in your lifestyle, and much more. Things that you have never worried about before may suddenly seem like looming problems. The enormous scope of fatherhood is often underestimated. Many men experience physical symptoms of anxiety as they adjust to their new role. The good news is that your anxiety will very likely pass. In the meantime, share your feelings with your wife or a close friend. If you find that you are continuing to worry, talk with your doctor about how you feel.

  3. I am just now 32 weeks, and I have suddenly developed awful
    heartburn and really awful episodes of upset stomach. I wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to vomit. Is this normal? I never had any morning sickness. Could I have developed it this late in my pregnancy?

    • Hi Vanessa,

      Thank you so much for writing. As your baby and your uterus grow, the pressure upward on your stomach increases. This causes stomach acids to back up into your esophagus. The condition may also cause sudden vomiting, without the lingering nausea that is usual with morning sickness. This is essentially a serious bout of “heartburn” or “GERD – gastroesophageal reflux” and antacids can offer some relief. You can try something like TUMS, over the counter, but be sure you let your practitioner know about this problem. He or she may recommend a stronger antacid or a more effective prescription medication, as well as some additional suggestions for relief.

  4. Hi Tori,

    I’m 12 wks and 6 days today with my second baby and I have been going out of my mind due to worrying about sleeping positions. With my first I didn’t even know there were best sleeping positions during pregnancy. Recently, I found out the left side was the best so I’m in a panic because I’m waking up at least 4 times during the night and finding mself on my right side and I think it’s because I just can’t get comfortable on my left side. I’m so worried because I had two miscarriages and an ectopic and I just don’t want anything to happen with this baby. What should I do?



    • Hi Veronica,

      I am so sorry that you have been worrying so much. And waking 4 times a night has to be draining for you. It can be confusing to read or hear about sleeping positions. Lying on your left side is misleading. It comes from the information that when a woman is “very” pregnant (8 months and beyond) her uterus can decrease blood flow to the major arteries of the legs. This does NOT, at all mean you should only lie on your left side. Imagine how the human species survived before we had a book to tell us to lie on our left sides! It is perfectly fine to sleep or lie down in absolutely whatever position is comfortable to you. It is fine to sleep on your back at this stage of pregnancy. You will probably find that as you get bigger (you may remember this from your first pregnancy) it is likely to be more comfortable to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs.

      I am so sorry that you had experienced miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. Please know that nothing you did, no position, no activity, caused them to happen. The best thing you can do for your baby is to have regular prenatal care, eat a healthy, nutritious diet and rest as your body needs to. Please sleep a full night from now on!



  5. Aarrgg! I am 38 weeks along and losing my mind! Do you have any tips for how I can get through this waiting? I am so excited I can’t stand it!

    • Women everywhere understand how you feel. I have some ideas for you. They are simple, and they come from the experts, women like you who have been waiting, waiting, waiting: Visit a new or elegant restaurant; Catch up on the latest movies, or enjoy old classics; Swim; Make a couple of stews or casseroles, and freeze them for after the baby is born; Have lunch with a friend; Treat yourself to a massage; Make a list of numbers to call when the baby is born; Spend a romantic night or weekend in a hotel with your partner; Take a bubble bath; Shop for yourself, not the baby; Buy some fresh flowers; Bake cookies or bread; Visit a local museum; Read a good book that’s not about birth or babies; Write a letter to someone you don’t see often enough; Go to a concert; Go dancing with your partner; Play with your pet, as it may sense that change is coming; Ask your mate for a foot rub; Go to the beach; Spend an evening cuddling in front of a fire with your sweetie; Have your partner take some sexy and silly photos of your pregnant body; Look at your baby pictures and your partner’s; Savor being two before you become three!

  6. I am 18 weeks pregnant, and I have been having some vaginal bleeding and contractions. I am scheduled for an ultrasound check next week. My doctor told me that in the meantime, I should decrease my activities at home. He said something about “pelvic rest,” which I thought meant no sex, but now I am not sure. I am too embarrassed to call and ask him what it means. Can you help?

    • You are certainly not alone in wondering what “pelvic rest” means, or feeling uncomfortable about asking a doctor for details of what you may and may not do sexually. Being on pelvic rest means you shouldn’t do anything that might cause or increase bleeding or contractions. That means you need to adhere to the following guidelines: Nothing in the vagina. This includes tampons, penis, or fingers; No orgasms (for you). They can cause contractions, so even oral sex and masturbation are out; No breast stimulation. Stimulating the breasts releases the hormone oxytocin, which can cause contractions. Once you have your ultrasound, your doctor will learn more about what may be causing the bleeding.

  7. I am 23 weeks pregnant. A couple of weeks ago, I lifted my four-year-old and had a very painful, stretching feeling in the middle of my abdomen. I called the doctor, who said that it was probably the ligaments that hold up my uterus stretching. A few days later, the pain happened again, several times, when I would stretch or move in an unusual way. Now it happens when I walk the dog or reach for something, or even when I am sitting still. It feels like a spasm, and it actually makes me jump! Do you think I should call the doctor again?

    • It sounds to me as if you are experiencing round-ligament pain. On both sides of your uterus are ligaments, called round ligaments, that help to support it. As your uterus grows, these ligaments stretch. The stretching may cause a sharp twinge or pain when you move suddenly, turn, cough, or sneeze. The pains often occur over a period when a baby is having a growth spurt. Round-ligament pain is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. It is another one of those uncomfortable conditions of pregnancy that will go away as soon as the baby is born.

  8. Hello,

    I am 8 weeks pregnant and have noticed in the last week one of my feet is really swollen. It goes down a bit at night but as soon as I am up and moving around the swelling starts. I have two other kids and never had swelling. Please let me know if I should be worried.

    Thanks, Sandra

    • Hi Sandra,

      It is very early in your pregnancy to be noticing swelling, especially in one leg. My concern is that you might have what is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot in the leg and is often also accompanied by pain and possible discoloration of the leg. If left untreated, it can be very dangerous.

      It is very important that you immediately see your practitioner. A DVT can usually be confirmed by an ultrasound of the leg and appropriate treatment can be started. The usual treatment is with a medication called heparin, which is an anticoagulant or “blood thinner”.

      Please let me know what you find out and how you are doing.

  9. Hi Tori,
    I am 33 weeks pregnant with my first child at 43. I have been diagnosed with a case of “mild” pre-eclampsia. My BP is normal, however, I have +1-+2 protein in urine and +4 pitting edema in my legs/feet. I also developed gestational diabetes and hypothyroidism not to mention a terrible case of carpal tunnel and sleep apnea. I was a size 6 when I began fertility treatment and gained 40 pounds over 6 months. I have been put on moderate bedrest after a few days work-up in the hospital. Again, BP is great but the edema is unbelievably painful and my legs are literally 2x their original size and elevation doesn’t help. Compression stockings help the pain, but the swelling never really abates. Are there any situations in which a diurectic may be prescribed to help with the swelling? Or, is there anything else to be done? Perinatologist is trying to get me to at least 36 weeks, but it’s likely we may have to induce at 34.

    Best Regards, Celeste

    • Celeste – I am so very sorry that you are having so many issues during your pregnancy. It sounds as though you are under exactly the right kind of care.

      Diuretics are not a simple solution and generally are not given, except in cases of fluid accumulation (pulmonary edema) in your lungs. This is actually a very dangerous and unusual situation and you would be hospitalized if this occurred.

      The reason you are having swelling is because you have the condition of pre-eclapmsia. A diuretic may alleviate the symptoms for a short period of time but do not treat the disease itself. The only actual cure is birth and this is the reason your doctors are watching you so closely.

      If your pre-eclampsia does not worsen, your doctors will want you to get as far along in your pregnancy as possible. If you show signs that it is worsening it will be necessary for your baby to be born early.

      Please let me know how things go!

  10. Hi Tori, I really need your help in calculating my expected due date according to the sonography report. As of 02, Feb 2012 the gestational age of the fetus was 18 weeks, 4 days.

    Kindly guide me as to what would be my due date?

    Thanks in advance..really looking forward for your response.



    • Deepty,

      Thanks for your question. It can be very confusing to figure out how your due date is calculated. It can be especially confusing when it is changed after having an ultrasound.

      Based on your 18 week ultrasound, your estimated due date (EDD) would be July 1, 2012. This may be a different date than the one that was calculated from your last menstrual period (LMP). An ultrasound can alter a due date by a week or so.

      Generally speaking, if your due date is changed based on an ultrasound during the first trimester (12 weeks or before), that new date is considered to be more accurate than the one based on your LMP. However, if your EDD is different based on a second or third trimester ultrasound, the original date from your LMP is considered to be most accurate.

      Remember though that your EDD is only as estimate and your baby is considered to be “full-term” anytime after 37 weeks. Statistically, most babies are born between 39 and 41 weeks gestation.

      I hope this didn’t add further to your confusion!

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About Tori Kropp

Tori Kropp

Known as "the Dear Abby of pregnancy," Tori has been interviewed on national television and radio and in national print publications, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Chicago Sun-Times.

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